This article on cats was written by our good friend Schuylar Croom, frontman for North Carolina rock band He Is Legend. Schuylar has the ability to make any topic more interesting than it initially seems.
It is late enough for me to know that looking at the clock will only make things worse. There is always a point in the night where you realize that the time doesn‚Äôt matter. It‚Äôs nighttime‚Ä¶that is all. I live in a small duplex in what some would call a retirement community. How I lucked out with this low rent, cinder block box is beyond me, but I‚Äôm happy here. It‚Äôs always quiet and I am only a 2-minute walk from the lake and all of its wildlife. I believe that I am the only one awake in these some 50 houses and it might as well be all 50 states. It‚Äôs one million o‚Äôclock in the morning. As I light a cigarette the fake gas fireplace is whispering secrets to three adorable cats. Each of their heads turns slightly to lock eyes with me. How I made eye contact with the lot of them is still a mystery. But it is the closest I have ever felt to having a conversation with the devil.
I have never considered myself a cat person. It‚Äôs not that I hate them, although I am quick to spout that word off daily when their mischief catches me off guard,¬†I have just always had a dog. A dog‚Äôs loyalty is like a book that you can almost recite by heart, where a cat is like watching a rerun of E! Entertainment news. But I digress; this is about my relationship with the cats.
The two cats that live with me are named Buckets and Steve. They are brother and sister and I have suspicions that they are victims of inbreeding. I cannot hold this against them although I do love to tease them about it. Buckets is very small with the brightest blue eyes. I often call her King Buckets the Princess. This is a name that she has grown attached to.¬† It also may have given her a complex. My only real problem with her is that she loves to knock things off of counters and tables. Cylindrical objects are her neapolitan ice cream. If you leave your chapstick on the table in the morning it will be under the couch. But mainly she just eats and sleeps. She‚Äôs a precious little princess and I guess I am glad that she keeps me company. Not to mention that she will let you draw on her with magic markers.
Some dark spirit on the other hand, no doubt, possesses Steve the Cat. His coat is the color of a storm cloud with just as much dread. His eyes the shade of Linda Blair‚Äôs in the Exorcist only slightly more sinister. The ‚Äúmeows‚Äù that wake me in the morning are more of a jungle roar. I do believe that Steve is as wild as any cat in Africa. He only happens to live in North Carolina and be a house cat. Besides the fact that he can‚Äôt really figure out how to cover his own droppings, (Buckets has to do it for him) he is okay to have around inside. We have developed a love/hate relationship. But I can tell he likes it. It‚Äôs the great outdoors where Steve causes most of his havoc.
Right down the street from my house is a large wooden bridge stretching over Greenfield Lake. I spend a lot of time there; it‚Äôs a great spot to reflect. Sometimes when friends are visiting we will go down to the bridge to fellowship, usually at one million o‚Äôclock, but who‚Äôs looking at the clock in the first place? One night Steve the Cat invited himself into the fold. He didn‚Äôt stray too far and would come when I made the ‚Äúkiss-kiss-kiss‚Äù noise that usually only works for dogs. This was a major break-through in our relationship and he still follows close behind to this day. I imagine he thinks we walk to the Land Of The Gods, where no cat shall enter. I can see the heroic gaze in his eyes as he lies on the wooden bridge floor, staring up at the sky. I wonder if inside his tiny brain, as he looks up at the moon, he thinks about visiting it someday?
One day as six of my friends and I were sitting on the bridge in the cold night air; we lost ourselves in fellowship, which is pretty easy to do, when we realized that Steve the Cat was missing. We decided to go back home, hoping he would turn up along the way. The walk back seemed to take days. Everyone began yelling Steve‚Äôs name in the voices that they had dedicated to kittens of all kinds. Knowing that he could take care of himself I charged toward the door. I noticed the body of a large dead squirrel in just enough time to stop my Chuck from squeezing his last meal onto the porch. This was more traumatic than it should have been but when adding the body of a dead bird, it climaxed into a ‚Äúwhat the eff‚Äù situation. We knew who the murderer was. His name is Steve the Cat and here he comes now, with yet another dead squirrel clutched in his jaws.
¬†After that night a rule had to be made. The cats now had a curfew. They are to be in shortly after sundown. This was working out fairly well until I agreed to cat-sit for a very close friend of mine. Normally I would have said ‚Äúabsolutely not‚Äù but it just so happens that this cat is a brother to Steve and Buckets. I really had no choice, Thumbs was on his way. Plus I must say that I was a little curious as to how the three would act once reunited. It wasn‚Äôt as climactic as I would have liked. Buckets did make some of the strangest noises I have heard come out of any animal. She reminded me of a tiny white wolf princess. And Battle cat Steve was actually pretty timid towards her.
Thumbs is pretty much a perfect mix between Steve and Buckets. He has her white coat and his demon eyes. His face is a little longer than the other two. I am almost 100% positive that he has Down Syndrome. A few nights ago I watched the bonding session between Steve and Thumbs. Steve let out a hiss that faded into a growl as Thumbs swatted the air in front of his face. Thumbs‚Äô paw remained outstretched for a split second before he placed it on Steve‚Äôs shoulder. I could almost hear his deep cat voice say, ‚ÄúCome on mang, we bros.‚Äù
The next morning the splayed carcass of a beautiful baby duck lay frozen on the grass. Most of the poor duck had been devoured. Thumbs and Steve were running around frantically, zooming behind the bushes with a playful murderous rage set deep in their eyes. Buckets, God bless her soul, was just too dainty to even sniff the loose feathers. I hate touching dead animals. I would rather swerve around a family of deer than splatter possum entrails all over my cars undercarriage. So understand that I gagged a lot when I buried it.
So what to do about cats? I wish I knew. I can‚Äôt even decide if I like them or not. I guess this article is more of a question to cat lovers and not really informative in the least bit. For that I apologize. Sure I will keep feeding them and changing their litter. But when I go out to the porch with my coffee in the morning and almost step on the severed head of a mallard, it‚Äôs a little unnerving. I could probably get into some kind of trouble for having The Kitty Manson Family. Hopefully no one will find out. In the meantime, say a little prayer for the woodland creatures. There are evil cats everywhere.